Thursday, August 30

Enjoying your Surroundings...

What have you done to your surroundings today to make things more feminine and beautiful?

Wednesday, August 29

What I Wore Wednesay...

Here is the outfit that I wore today. I had on a plain white tee-shirt (probably the last time I can wear it... it's getting tight!) and a steel blue skirt. For my accessories, I had on violet colored pearls and my tan peep-toe slingback sandals. I think that this is one of my very favorite outfits!

What did you wear today?

If Only We All Lived by These Words...

"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?"

- George Elliot (
Mary Anne Evans)

Painting by: John William Waterhouse

Tuesday, August 28

A Good Start to Our Day...

Dancing in the Morning...

Each morning, my husband puts on this song for our daughter to dance to. She loves to tap her feet and spin in circles while waving her little arms. It is just about the sweetest thing ever!

Monday, August 27

Closet Transformations: The Family Closet...

The horror that was the closet before I began:

An overview of the finished product.

Toddler clothes.

Hampers, shoes, handbags, and odds and ends.

Some of my clothes. I still have to go through a large rubbermaid container of my clothes and I need to hang some of Husband's clothes.

Closet Transformations: The Baby Changing Closet...

We have two closets facing one another in our master bedroom. After reading all about creating a family closet on Meredith's blog and then in the book, A Place for Everything, I was determined to create one in our new home. With the washer and dryer upstairs and these two spacious closets, it seems like it would work really well to have our clothes in the larger closet and our linens in the smaller one. The only problem I could imagine was the fact that the changing table was in the nursery. Would it be better to put off the idea of having a family closet until our children were potty trained? Here are pictures of my solution to the problem:

Here was the double door closet before I did anything. Since I had been planning to make it into a linen closet, I was storing some of our towels, sheets, blankets, etc. inside. After trying several different ways of trying to store the linens on the one shelf in the closet, it was clear that I should abandon the narrow closet as a linen closet (we do have a proper one in the hall) and use it for something else:

Ta Da! Now I have all the things that I need to change the baby right across from the closet with our clothes, accessories, and hamper! The best part is that the master bathroom is only a few short steps away!

August 26...

It's time for another Commitment to Loveliness! This is a fun way to increase femininity and beauty in our lives each week without even trying! All you have to do is choose five things that you would like to work on or do during the week that will increase the loveliness in your life!

Here is my list for this week:

1. Organize the walk-in and linen closets
2. Finish September by Rosamond Pilcher
3. Give self a pedicure

4. Complain less
5. Moisturize skin every day

Once you have chosen five simple things, post them on your blog and link to this post in your post, and then post the direct link to your Commitment to Loveliness post below. If you do not have a blog, but have a commitment to share, please post them in the comments section.

Saturday, August 25

A Homemaking Query...

This week has been wonderful for me in the homemaking department! I learned from Jess that a bit of vinegar in with the whites makes them dazzle. Mrs. B. sent me over to Mrs. U's blog for two lessons: the first on how to get my microwave clean with very little elbow grease and the second on the importance of airing our our beds each morning. Finally, a lovely lady at the Nurtured Family website suggested that I stop our cloth diapers from stinking by washing them two to three times with a cup of baking soda in each load... worked like a charm!

Now, on to my question: How do I rid our home of fruit flies? I thought that I they were gone when I washed out our emptied produce basket and fruit bowl before shopping day. However, this morning, I noticed them buzzing around all the fruit in our fruit bowl! Any hints?

A Baby for my Baby...

Oh, the grief I was given for buying this lovely white clad dolly for my little one last Christmas! Privately, I began to think that the critics were right... she was covered in gray after only a few days of love. Happily, when popped in the wash with a bit of soap, she comes out like new! I recommend this brand to anyone with a little girl to shop for!

So Long Paper Napkins...

Today was the last day for paper napkins in our house. I have always wanted to use cloth napkins for dining and my desire was strengthened by a visit to a home where everyone (including three little girls - ages five, three, and nearly one) ate with white cloth napkins on their laps... but the thought of all those stains! Any tips?

Friday, August 24

A Homemade Diaper Caddy...

Awhile ago, I came across a great idea in the Pottery Barn Kid's catalog. It was a rectangular shaped basket that was advertised as being perfect as a diaper caddy. Since we have two floors and I will (God willing) soon have two children, I decided to make up one of my own. I bought the basket at Michael's (50% off!) and filled it with diapers (either cloth or disposable), wipes, diaper rash cream, and a change of clothes. While I don't think that I will be using it until the new baby comes, it will really come in handy then!!

Geraniums on Top of the Toy Table...

While browsing through Marshall's recently, we purchased a wooden end table in black to store the baskets of toys in our family room. Originally, I put a bonsai and some of my own art work on top, but found it to be too sparse looking. While tidying up my desk a few days ago, I came across a birthday card I had received in March. When put in a frame and paired with a geranium, the effect was quite cheerful and very feminine!

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Tea Sandwiches...

Tea Sandwiches

The bread used for these sandwiches is always sliced very thinly and usually has the crusts trimmed off. Once the sandwiches are assembled, cut them into quarters for serving.
  • Cream cheese and date nut bread
  • Thinly sliced cucumbers, butter, and white bread
  • Thinly sliced red onions and finely snipped fresh chives, a pinch of ground cloves, butter, and brioche
  • Very thinly sliced cheddar cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, green mango chutney, and whole wheat bread
  • Watercress, nasturtium or chive flowers, butter or flavored butter, milk bread, or white bread
  • Thinly sliced tomatoes and chopped fresh basil, a pinch of ground cumin, mayonnaise or garlic mayonnaise, and whole wheat or potato bread
  • Thinly sliced radishes and mint leaves, grated lemon zest, mayonnaise with green herbs, and brioche
  • Brie and thinly sliced almonds, a pinch of ground all-spice, butter, and pumpernickel bread
  • Smoked salmon, minced fresh dill, horseradish, and black bread
  • Smoked ham, a pinch of ground cloves, orange marmalade, and whole wheat bread
  • Thinly sliced poached shrimp, celery seeds, sour cream, and white bread
  • Thinly sliced strawberries, a dash of balsamic vinegar, creme fraiche, and brioche
  • Thinly sliced hard-boiled eggs, capers, Dijon mustard, and rye bread
  • Chicken and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples, minced scallions, curry mayonnaise, and white bread
  • Crabmeat and thinly sliced avocados, a pinch of sweet red paprika, mayonnaise, and black bread
  • Bleu cheese and thinly sliced pears, a pinch of ground nutmeg, butter, and baguette rounds
  • Caviar, minced onions, Russian dressing, and pumpernickel bread
  • Thinly sliced peeled lemons, ground black pepper, red caviar butter, and white bread
  • Thinly sliced fontina cheese, fresh thyme leaves, anchovy butter, and potato bread
  • Belgian endive and escarole, minced fresh tarragon, creamy chili dressing, and white bread
  • Thinly sliced pimento-stuffed green olives, snipped fresh chives, cream cheese, and white bread
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Sandwiches made from Leftover Main Courses...

Sandwiches made from Leftover Main Courses
  • Basic Sandwich: Italian American tomato sauce (with meatballs and sausage) and a halved loaf of Italian bread or a hero roll
  • Meat Loaf or ham loaf, barbecue sauce or ketchup, and a halved loaf of Italian bread or a hero roll
  • Chicken parmigiana, Italian tomato sauce, and and a halved loaf of Italian bread or a hero roll
  • Eggplant parmigiana, Italian tomato sauce, and and a halved loaf of Italian bread or a hero roll
  • Beef pot roast, ketchup or mustard, and a kaiser roll
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Thursday, August 23

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Cheeses...

  • Basic Sandwich: Sliced avocados, tomatoes, and lettuce, mayonnaise, and white bred or a bagel
  • Thinly sliced plums, honey mustard vinaigrette, and walnut bread
  • Romaine lettuce, quick red onion pickle, and onion roll
  • Watercress, sauce Romoulade, and a kaiser roll
  • Arugula, basil chive vinaigrette, and olive bread or herb bread
  • Alfalfa sprouts, hummus, and pita bread or sourdough bread
  • Sopressata or other hard salami, roasted red peppers dressing, and Italian bread
  • Frisee (curly endive), piccalilli, and whole wheat bread
  • Country ham, mustard flavored with horseradish, and rye or whole wheat bread
  • Roasted red peppers, mayonnaise, and white bread
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Grilled Fish...

Grilled Fish
  • Basic Sandwich: Romain lettuce and sliced tomatoes and onions, garlic mayonnaise, and French bread
  • Frisee (curly endive) or arugula, tapenade, and potato bread or focaccia
  • Sliced radishes and shredded lettuce, salsa verde cruda, and flour tortillas
  • Watercress, corn and tomato relish, and a kaiser roll
  • Thinly sliced fennel, sauce Andalouse, and white or French bread
  • Grilled scallions or onions, mustard mayonnaise, and a kaiser roll
  • Bibb lettuce and slice cucumbers, red caviar butter and Italian bread
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Tuesday, August 21

Why Study Home Economics?

Finishing School: Grand Tour of Europe...

This week's Finishing School lessons will be taught by Eva. Originally from Belgium, she will take us on a virtual tour of Europe. As Eva states in today's post, "I hope that this 'grand tour' will leave you with a different impression of Europe, an incredibly diverse continent with great sides and less great sides and one that has a lot to offer in history, art, mentality, and daily life solutions. "

As someone who has never been to Europe, I am looking forward to this week's lessons very much!

Modest Maternity Wear...

Eva recently read about Jamie's quest to find beautiful and modest maternity clothing on this blog and gracious sent along a link to JinJi Maternity, a website that specializes modest maternity wear. It looks like the site has some great things!! Be sure to check out the clearance section for good deals!

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Grilled or Braised Vegetables...

Grilled or Braised Vegetables
  • Basic Sandwich: Mozzarella cheese, fresh herb vinaigrette, and focaccia or French or Italian bread
  • Prosciutto, garlic mayonnaise, and focaccia
  • Sprouts or your choice, hoisin sauce, and pita bread or rice paper
  • Sliced mangoes, fresh tamarind chutney, and pita bread
  • Grated lemon zest, cream cheese, and thickly sliced white bread
  • Watercress or arugula, sauce Andalouse, and sourdough bread
  • Monterey Jack cheese, salsa verde cruda, and tortillas or Italian bread
  • Romaine lettuce, red onion marmalade, and focaccia or French bread
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Peanut Butter (or Other Nut Butter)...

Peanut Butter (or Other Nut Butter)
  • Basic Sandwich: Marshmallow fluff and white bread
  • Jelly, white or whole wheat bread or toasted English muffin
  • Bacon, none or hot pepper jelly and whole wheat bread
  • Sliced bananas and white or raisin bread
  • Thinly sliced celery and rye crackers
  • Walnut halves or whole peanuts, cream cheese, and rye bread or raisin bagel
  • Honey and bagel
  • Thinly sliced apples, apple butter, and cracked wheat bread
  • Granola, butter, and sourdough bread
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Seafood Salad...

Seafood Salads (Tuna, Salmon, Shrimp, Crab, or Lobster)
  • Basic Sandwich: Romaine lettuce, and hot dog, hamburger, kaiser roll, pita bread, white, whole wheat, or rye bread
  • Bibb lettuce, classic Russian dressing, and whole wheat bread
  • Sliced tomatoes, Cress or arugula butter, and brioche
  • Sliced avocados, garlic mayonnaise, and pumpernickel bread
  • Sliced scallions and cucumbers, guacamole, and tortillas
  • Thinly sliced shallots, mustard mayonnaise, and white bread
  • Thinly sliced fennel, tzatsiki, and pita or white bread
  • Cilantro or basil leaves, apple chutney, and sourdough bread
  • Bacon or Canadian bacon, butter, and toasted brioche or challah
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Egg Salad...

Egg Salad
  • Basic Sandwich: Romaine or iceberg lettuce and sliced tomatoes, whole wheat, rye, or white bread
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, tapenade, and Italian bread
  • Thinly slices green and black olives, basic herb vinaigrette, and a kaiser roll
  • Roasted red peppers, lemon caper vinaigrette, and toasted white bread
  • Sardines, anchovy butter, rye bread or toasted English muffin
  • Bacon and sliced tomatoes, cress or arugula butter, and toasted brioche or challah
  • Thinly sliced avocados and tomatoes, mayonnaise, and whole wheat bread
  • Thinly sliced red onions and watercress, sour cream and quick red onion pickle, and black bread
  • Steamed asparagus, mayonnaise with green herbs, and whole wheat bread
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Chicken or Turkey Salad...

Chicken or Turkey Salad
  • Basic Sandwich: Iceberg or romaine lettuce and sliced tomatoes, and white whole wheat or rye bread
  • Thinly sliced radishes and scallions, garlic mayonnaise, and white or rye bread
  • Sliced celery and pine nuts, mayonnaise with green herbs, and pita or potato bread
  • Romaine lettuce and minced fresh oregano, guacamole dressing, and tortillas or pita bread
  • Sliced avocados and Bibb lettuce, sour cream, and bagels
  • Sliced cashews, scallions, and currants, mayonnaise mixed with mango chutney, and toasted sourdough bread
  • Sliced green grapes, orange butter, and walnut bread
  • Orange segments, butter, and limpa or or pumpernickel bread
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Monday, August 20

Thank You...

Thank you for all the well-wishes at the news of our pregnancy! We are planning to wait to find out what we are having just like we did for our daughter... it was a great surprise! Things are going much more smoothly than they did with our first pregnancy (as far as morning sickness and tiredness). I attribute this to the fact that I am at home this time, rather than teaching (though I suppose it could also mean we are having a boy!). Please keep our family in your prayers!

Tuesday, August 14

We Might be Needing these in February...

These buttons would be great to pass out on Birth Day! I imagine that one could also design a birth announcement that included them as well. Check out Mahar Drygoods for beautiful vintage and artisan crafted goodies!

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Sliced Chicken or Turkey...

Sliced Chicken or Turkey
  • Basic Sandwich: Romaine or iceberg lettuce and sliced tomatoes, mayonnaise, white, whole wheat or rye bread
  • Stuffing, cranberry relish, and thickly sliced white bread
  • Bacon and cheddar cheese, Thousand Island dressing, and potato bread
  • Romaine lettuce, tuna sauce, and kaiser roll
  • Sliced red onions and spinach, Sauce Remoulade, and white bread
  • Walnuts, hummus, and pita or lavash
  • Prosciutto and radicchio, garlic mayonnaise, and focaccia
  • Thinly sliced cucumbers, tabbouleh, and pita bread
  • Sliced tomatoes, Georgian garlic and walnut sauce, and pumpernickel bread
  • Sliced avocados and sprouts, honey mustard vinegarette, and wheat or multi-grain bread
  • Grilled onions, barbecue sauce,and kaiser roll
  • Sun-dried tomatoes and sliced back olives, pesto sauce, and focaccia
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Ham...

  • Basic Sandwich: Iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, and rye, white, or whole-wheat bread
  • Cheddar cheese and bread-and-butter pickles, Dijon mustard, and kaiser roll
  • Swiss cheese, chow-chow, and onion roll
  • Cranberry sauce, apricot mustard, and rye or pumpernickel bread
  • Havarti cheese, fresh pineapple chutney, and rye bread
  • Gruyere cheese, garlic butter, and olive bread
  • Half-sour pickles and Boston lettuce, tzatziki, and potato bread
  • Crabmeat, Russian horseradish cream, and pumpernickel bread
  • Fontina cheese and alfalfa sprouts, anchovy butter, and kaiser roll
  • Brie, mustard, and pumpernickel bread
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Roast Pork...

Roast Pork
  • Basic Sandwich: Romain or iceberg lettuce and gherkins, mustard, and whole wheat or rye bread
  • Cole slaw, barbecue sauce, and white bread
  • Arugula, roasted garlic, and chives, mustard, and Italian bread
  • Thinly sliced apples, English Cumberland sauce, and rye bread
  • Romaine lettuce, mango salsa, tortillas or pita bread
  • Thinly sliced red onions, pear chutney, and potato bread or chapatis
  • Watercress, corn and tomato relish, and white bread
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Saturday, August 11

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Roast Lamb...

Roast Lamb
  • Basic Sandwich: Sliced onions and romaine lettuce, red onion marmalade or mayonnaise, kaiser roll or toast white or whole wheat bread
  • Sliced red onions and roasted red peppers, fresh herb vinaigrette, focaccia or ciabatta
  • Goat cheese, apricot dressing, and white or whole wheat pita
  • Watercress, roasted red pepper dressing and sourdough bread
  • Feta cheese and romaine lettuce, garlic mayonnaise, and potato or hearth bread
  • Monterey Jack cheese, roasted tomato-chipotle salsa, and tortillas or pita bread
  • Baby mustard greens or watercress, fruit salsa with black beans, and tortillas or pita bread
  • Roasted garlic, mayonnaise with green herbs, and a sesame roll
  • Sliced tomatoes, tapenade, and baguette
  • Mesclun, harissa, and Italian or pita bread
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Friday, August 10

Don't Take the Girl...

This song always gives me goosebumps!

Maternity Clothing...

Several weeks ago, Jamie asked the following question:

Speaking of maternity clothes though. I am just entering my second trimester and can easily get away without maternity clothes yet BUT where did you find attractive and MODEST maternity clothes when you were pregnant??? Everywhere I look it is the same stuff....sleeveless (which I don't wear) and longer dresses or skirts at all. And prints that I would never wear...and everything accentuates the area that needs no extra attention in my case. HELP!!!!!

Congratulations, Jamie!! I hope that you are feeling well and that you are enjoying this time of your life! I'm sorry it has taken me so long to answer your question.

When I was pregnant with our little one, I used my "regular" clothing as long as I could. Since I am tall (long legs!), I wanted to keep my skirts and pants because maternity stores don't sell things that are long enough. My solution for this was to buy the Ingrid & Isabel Maternity Bella Band in white. When I wore it, it looked like a tank top peeking out from underneath my shirt. I bought mine online through Nordstrom (teacher's gift card!), but recently saw similar ones at a maternity store for about half the price.

For tops, I wore plain teeshirts and a sweater or two from Motherhood Maternity and a few prettier tees and tunics from Gap. After going through the pregnancy, I would definitely recommend the tops from Gap. I think that they held up better and kept their color through multiple washings. Since I couldn't afford more than a few pieces, the quality had to be excellent and I found that with the Gap shirts. In addition, since I am well endowed, I wore several tank tops that had pretty trimming to keep things a bit more modest.

I hope that helps!! Let me know if you need more detail!

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives: Roast Beef...

Roast Beef
  • Basic Sandwich: Iceberg or romaine lettuce and sliced tomatoes, mustard or mayonnaise, Kaiser roll or rye, or whole wheat bread
  • Watercress and sliced red onions, Bavarian Apple and Horseradish Sauce, and Sourdough Bread
  • Swiss Cheese, Green Goddess Dressing, and Whole Wheat Bread
  • Quick Red Onion Pickle, Thousand Island Dressing, and Kaiser Roll
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, Roasted Read Pepper Dressing, and Olive Bread
  • Frisee (curly endive) and sliced cucumbers, Tzatziki and Italian Bread
  • Sliced radishes and Bibb Lettuce, Rosemary mustard, and Baguette
  • Roasted Red Peppers, Red-Onion-Garlic Ketchup, Focaccia or Ciabatta
  • Bleu Cheese, Chimichurri, and Rye or pumpernickel bread
  • Romaine Lettuce and fontina cheese, green peppercorn vinaigrette, and onion rolls
If you would like the Joy of Cooking recipe for any of the dressings listed, just leave a comment and I will try to post it for you!

Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives...

While flipping through my Joy of Cooking cookbook a few weeks ago, I came across a section entitled Ideas for Simple Sandwiches and Their Relatives. The author has written 14 sections that she has divided by typical fillings for sandwiches and follows each with a list of dressings and bread combinations that taste delicious together. I wish that I had found this sooner!! Lunchtime seems to always be difficult in our house - even if I've just gone to the store- and I don't even have to pack it for my husband (that must take a lot of creativity!)! I think that our real problem is that we get stuck in a rut and I am hoping that this section of the cookbook will pull us out of it. For the next few weeks, I'll post a section a day. Let me know if you have any more ideas or if you try any of the combinations! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 7

If I Had a Million Dollars...

An abandoned church and vicarage we happened upon and would love to restore... Interestingly enough, the church began it's life in the late 1800's as a Presbyterian Church and then was turned into a Ukrainian Orthodox one (notice the not-very-Presbyterian Cross!).

Finishing School: The Etiquette of Communication and The Art of Flower Arranging...

Courtney and Elizabth are our Finishing School teachers this week, and they are both doing an outstanding job!

Courtney is posting on The Etiquette of Communication and will be covering the following topisc: telephone and cell phone etiquette, e-mail etiquette, internet etiquette, correspondence and conversation. Since Courtney was a children's librarian prior to her son's birth, her posts are not only beautifully written, but also chock full of wonderful and easy to apply information!

In addition to Courtney's lesson this week, we are lucky to have Elizabeth (Not of The Merry Rose!) teaching us about simple flower arranging, growing a cutting garden, flowers in the home, creating centerpieces, and herbal arrangements. I have often wanted to know how to not only arrange flowers beautifully, but how to grow ones I can use in arranging as well, a skill every feminine woman should have!

Please join in at these two blogs! I know that you will learn as much as I have been!

Saturday, August 4

Finshing School: Femininity Throughout the Seasons...

Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
-Thomas Blackburn, "An Easter Hymn"

After a long winter, everyone rejoices when spring finally comes. It is wonderful to be outside again, layers of clothing can be tossed aside (though we always remember modesty!), trees begin to bud, flowers bloom, and birds sing! Enjoy the tips of the fourth and final installment of this series!

  • Sort through your warm weather clothing and decide what can stay, what must go, and what you will need for the coming seasons.
  • Start looking for fresh ingredients to add to your menu planning. There are many produce stands open already!
  • Keep a look out for sweet smelling lotions to purchase. Wearing lotion for your scent is much lighter than perfume in warmer months.
  • Buy seeds and seedlings for your garden... if you are unable to plan in the ground, container gardening is quite nice!
  • Plan for the first picnics of the season.
  • Enjoy a nice long walk... without your snow boots!
  • When strawberries are in season, serve strawberry shortcake (and only strawberry shortcake) for dinner one night. Your family will love it!
  • Don pretty galoshes for puddle splashing.
  • Decorate your home (or at least your table and entrance) for spring.
  • Look for baby animals in your yard or in the park.
  • Commence with your spring cleaning!
  • Celebrate May Day.
  • Try a new hairstyle for the new season.
  • Wear something you save for special occasions on a "regular" day.
  • Take a day trip.
  • Look into taking a crafting or cooking class. If there are none available in your area, flatter someone whose skills you admire by asking them to teach you.
  • Send a care package to someone you love.
  • Complete a project you haven't had time to finish.
  • Learn how to press flowers, identify birds or flowers, or read a book on nature.
  • Convince someone you love to go paddle boating or canoing with you.
John William Waterhouse, Ophelia

Friday, August 3

Finshing School: Femininity Throughout the Seasons...


"O, wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
- Percy Bysshe Shelley

After the holidays come and go, the long months of winter stretch ahead with nearly no end in sight. Instead of dreading this cold, short days, why not savor them? There is plenty to do inside, and if one bundles up, much to do outside. Fill your heart with joy as you move along through the seasons of the year!

  • Purchase pretty slippers to keep your toes warm and beautiful.
  • Enjoy bubble baths as much as possible. Include fluffy towels, soft music, a good book, and plenty of candles for maximum enjoyment.
  • Visit the library frequently and keep your bag of books full. It is always pleasant to borrow several books by a well loved author for hours of enjoyment. May I suggest books by Jan Karon, Rosamund Piltcher, Miss Read, and Grace Livingstone Hill?
  • Make it a habit to settle down in a nest of blankets on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and a great movie every so often (extra points if it is snowing and you've got a fire going!).
  • Prepare a big homemade breakfast for your family at least once a week.
  • Learn a new crafty skill such as embroidery, crocheting, knitting, painting, calligraphy, etc.
  • Spend a few extra minutes in bed with a steamy cup of coffee or tea and the paper.
  • paint your toenails a bright color on a grey day.
  • Build a snowman
  • Keep your legs shaved and well moisturized.
  • Throw a party.
  • Send Valentines to family and friends.
  • Make comfort foods that your family loves.
  • Begin a book club, magazine swap, mother's group, or...
  • Set your bread machine or coffee maker to go off just before your wake up. It is wonderful to wake up to the scent of fresh bread and coffee!
  • Use a fruit or floral scented cleanser to clean your house. It will keep your mood uplifted!
  • Change things around the house. Move furniture here, change the curtains there, and swap pictures and decorations.
  • Where chic sunglasses while driving.
  • Use task lighting rather than overhead lighting when it gets dark.
  • Stock up on tights when you see them in the store. They are always the first things to go in the fall and winter wardrobe!
Pierre Bonnard, Ice-Skating Palace

Thursday, August 2

Finshing School: Femininity Throughout the Seasons...


"Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile."
-William Cullen Bryant

I must admit that autumn is my favorite season. I love the crisp apples, cozy woolens, deep reds, and fiery colored pumpkins of this time of year. It the time when the smells of bubbling soup and cornbread mingle with the scent of falling leaves and noses and cheeks become rosy with cold. Below are some tips to keep you cheery and cozy as the days become chillier and the sky turns grey.

  • When switching the blankets on the beds in your home, don't forget to pace cozy throws on the backs of couches and chairs and the foot of beds.
  • Look for a pretty scarf, a hat, and gloves to perk up last year's coat.
  • Use the crock pot... what could be better than an easy meal that fills your home with delicious smells all day?
  • Keep up your summer pedicure. You'll still see your feet every time you change your socks!
  • Bring harvest colors and accessories into your home. A pumpkin and a few gourds make a lovely centerpiece.
  • Experiment with darker shades and hues of your favorite colors to spice up your fall and winter wardrobe.
  • Stock up on tea and hot chocolate to warm the chiller days.
  • Get a haircut or a trim at a salon. It feels lovely to be pampered for an hour or so.
  • Take an autumn hike and note the colors, smells, and textures of the season.
  • Take stock of your fall and winter clothing and replenish if needed.
  • Find a few new "stick to your ribs" recipes and try them on your family and friends.
  • Give yourself a facial one evening.
  • Go pumpkin or apple picking.
  • Try your hand at making homemade doughnuts.
  • Polish your boots in preparation for cold weather and snow.
  • Work on a project you've been procrastinating on.
  • Find warm pajamas or a nightgown that doesn't sacrifice your femininity.
  • Bake bread and eat it fresh out of the oven (or bread machine).
  • Light candles in the evening.
  • Take an afternoon nap.
Constantin Korovin. Autumn. Young Woman in a Garden.

Wednesday, August 1

Finshing School: Femininity Throughout the Seasons...


"What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.
-Jane Austen

With summer heat, comes a bountiful array of beautiful seasonal fruits and vegetables, gorgeous weather, lazy days spent by the ocean or pool, and many invitations to barbecues, fireworks, ball games, and picnics. Despite the wonders of summertime, there is a reason that many refer to these long, hot days as the dog-days of summer. Here are some tips to help you keep your cool and enjoy the season with as much grace as possible.

  • Use seashells, flowers, and other summer-y treats to bring the outside indoors. Decorate with simple and inexpensive (or free!) accessories that play up the season and interest your family, friends, and guests.
  • Choose clothing fabrics that will keep you cool rather than warm. Linen is classic and looks great even if it is a little wrinkled!
  • Incorporate as much fresh produce into your menus as possible... not only will the food taste delicious, but you'll be saving money!
  • Keep your body lotion in the refrigerator. On a long hot night, keeping your skin moisturize will never be so attractive!
  • Purchase oscillating fans to cool your rooms down. There are many attractive fan styles to choose from, so you need not be worried that owning and using one will cramp your style!
  • Keep your feet well cared for during the summer. Even if you don't wear polish, your feet will look and feel fabulous when your nails and cuticles and trimmed and well moisturized!
  • Take advantage of your garden or the inexpensive prices at the farmer's markets by freezing, canning or pickling your excess produce. You will be able to enjoy delicious food all year long.
  • Remember to wear sunblock!
  • Dine al fresco if at all possible. There is nothing like enjoying a lovingly prepared meal in nature!
  • Purchase pretty sandals or slides to wear all summer long.
  • Prepare a large pitcher of lemonade, limeade, or iced tea and serve it in frosted glasses.
  • Lighten your makeup load by only wearing a few products in summer-y colors... let your skin shine through!
  • Invite people for a barbecue. If you lack space bring your guests to a park for a picnic and games.
  • Wear a skirt... they are much cooler that capri pants and much more attractive than shorts!
  • Bake during the coolest part of the day to keep the kitchen from becoming unbearable!
  • Drink water.
  • Increase your curb appeal (especially during the hot month of August when grass turns brown) by hanging out a flag or bunting, putting a wreath on the door and keeping your flowers watered.
  • Experiment with different hairstyles and hair accessories that keep your hair off of your neck.
  • Read more.
  • Set up the sprinkler and get someone to join you in a little bit of summer-time fun!
Summer - Frank Weston Benson
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